We’ve all seen it: the look in a friend’s eye that makes you want to ask what’s wrong, but warns you that if you do, you might have to be a shoulder to cry on for the weekend. Their eyebrows are knit, their teeth are gritted, and something about their sullen gait makes you feel depressed. Upon consulting the gossip chain, you learn that your friend has just experienced a “break” – the dreaded relationship hiatus that blocks the benefits of having a significant other…but forbids you from shopping for a temporary replacement.
Our Co-Op Couples articles have often tried to correlate the normal workings of a relationship with the natural bond that co-op gaming creates. Ultimately, however, the differences between a video game and real life all boil down to one word: consequences. Gaming is a hobby, and if you’re any kind of reasonable, you’ll rarely have a serious problem with your spouse or hip-attached best friend. Our relationship experts at Co-Optimus have worked around the clock observing test subjects, and have come to the conclusion that “taking a break” is far less serious in co-op gaming than you initially might think.
There are certain signs that begin to manifest when a gaming “break” is on the way… When the pastor mentions God’s covenant with Israel during Sunday morning’s sermon, it’s probably not a good time to whisper, “I need a gun” to your wife. Even if she understands the Halo 2 reference, you’ll still get an irritated sideways glance. It’s not always funny to remark, “You drive, I’ll shoot” when loading up the car for a trip to the mall. And despite how practical it seemed in Army of Two, you really don’t need to carry tampons everywhere you go…especially if you’re a guy.
There’s only going to be so much Spider-Man: Friend or Foe that you both can take, and at some point, the inevitable will happen. In the middle of a boss fight, the pause screen will appear, and when you turn to confront your partner, you will be met with a dead-like gaze and slumped shoulders; and at that moment, your heart will stop. “Let’s take a break,” your partner says, and although there is a certain vulnerability emanating from them…it’s not a suggestion. You’ll find yourself asking, “Why?!” and tearing up, but we’d like to remind you once again that the world does not end when the power button is pushed on your gaming console.
Here are some tips to help you get through this hard time:
Reflect on how lonely gaming was before your co-op relationship.
Get some exercise, because face it: you need it.
You know all those light bulbs that needed replacing? Now’s the time!
Santa Clause sees your sacrifice!
This holiday season is ripe with fresh opportunities to drag your partner onto the couch to try out the newest co-op game in front of the crackling fireplace. Keep in mind, though, that there is a limit to any given person’s tolerance. Web-swinging and baddie-fighting never gets old for some of us, but there comes an appropriate time to take off the mask and let the console cool down. Take a break from gaming. Enjoy life. Before you know it, your partner will be tossing you a controller and throwing a new log on the fire. And who knows? Maybe there will be a special present under the tree for being so reasonable.